Having an air conditioner that runs smoothly and efficiently is key to keeping cool during hot summer months. However, like any appliance, air conditioners require regular maintenance and care to prevent problems and keep operating costs low. Implementing some simple AC maintenance tips and best practices can go a long way in extending the life of your unit and bringing optimum cooling performance.
Developing a routine maintenance plan is crucial for any air conditioning system. Tasks like changing filters, clearing debris, cleaning parts, and sealing ductwork may sound tedious, but they make a big difference in how well your AC performs. Professional servicing annually will provide good maintenance for your AC and can also identify and address underlying issues before they become major repairs.
The following tips will help you establish an effective maintenance routine and troubleshoot common AC problems. With the proper cleaning, upkeep, and care, your air conditioner will run smoothly all season long, keeping your home cool even on sweltering hot days. Read on to learn key tasks that will bring optimum efficiency and performance from your cooling system.
– Change filters regularly – Clogged, dirty filters make your AC work harder and run less efficiently. Change your filters every 1-3 months during peak usage seasons. Disposable paper filters should be changed monthly. Electrostatic filters can typically go 2-3 months between changes.
– Clean the condenser coils – The condenser coils on the outside of your AC collect dirt, leaves, grass clippings and other debris. Use a hose to spray the coils down every spring and fall, making sure not to bend the fins. Also trim back any plants or bushes growing too close to the coils.
– Clean the evaporator coil – Over time, mold, mildew and dirt can build up on the evaporator coil inside your furnace or air handler. Carefully clean the coil once a year using a commercial evaporator coil cleaner or mild detergent. Be gentle as the fins bend easily.
– Clear debris from vents – Use a vacuum with a brush attachment to remove any dust or debris buildup around vents, returns and registers. This allows air to flow freely throughout your home.
– Seal ductwork – Leaky ducts can reduce your AC’s efficiency by up to 20 percent. Use duct sealant or foil tape to seal joints and connections. Make sure all vents and registers are properly attached with no gaps or leaks.
– Schedule professional maintenance – Have an HVAC technician perform semi-annual inspections and maintenance. They can check refrigerant levels, tighten connections, fix leaks, clear drain lines, and ensure your AC is ready for peak operation.
– Keep the compressor clean – Outdoor AC compressors require sufficient air flow to operate properly. Keep plants, debris and other obstructions at least 2 feet away. Use a wire brush to gently clean the compressor coils if dirty.
– Minimize energy loss – Shut AC vents and close doors in any unused rooms. Install blackout curtains or blinds to reduce heat from sunlight. Use a programmable thermostat to maximize energy savings.
With some simple, regular maintenance and cleaning, your air conditioner will run more efficiently and keep your home comfortable for years to come. Be sure to call a professional if you notice any major performance issues or need major repairs. Proper AC maintenance will save you money over the lifetime of your cooling system.